News / Africa

Prominent Muslim Cleric Killed in Kenya

An influential moderate Muslim preacher, Mohamed Idris, 64, chairman of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, was shot dead by gunmen in Mombasa, Kenya, June 10, 2014.
An influential moderate Muslim preacher, Mohamed Idris, 64, chairman of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, was shot dead by gunmen in Mombasa, Kenya, June 10, 2014.
Gunmen shot and killed a prominent Muslim cleric in Mombasa — the fourth religious leader to be killed in the Kenyan city in the past two years.

Police and witnesses say Sheikh Mohamed Idris, chairman of Kenya's Council of Imams and Preachers, was fatally shot in the stomach by unidentified gunmen on motorcycles as he left his house Tuesday to attend morning prayers at a nearby mosque.

The 65-year-old cleric was at the forefront of the fight against radicalization of Muslim youths in the Kenya's coastal region, and radical youths had accused him of working with the state to suppress them.

Investigators say the moderate cleric feared for his life and had been expected to testify in a Mombasa court Wednesday after filing a case against radical youths and the committee running the city's Sakina mosque for wrongful dismissal from his duties.

He had been thrown out of the mosque late last year by angry youths armed with knives. Before that, he led prayers and gave sermons at the mosque for 35 years.

No one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack, which follows a string of recent killings. All three Muslim leaders killed in Mombasa since 2012 were accused of having ties to al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked militant group based in neighboring Somalia.

Kenya has troops in Somalia fighting militants who have retaliated with attacks in Kenya, most notably the assault on Nairobi's Westgate Mall last year in which more than 60 people were killed.

Religious leaders and government officials condemned Tuesday's killing and called on the security agencies to find the killers.

Mombasa City police Commissioner Nelson Marwa said an investigation is underway.

“It will be sustained until the culprits are brought to book," Marwa said. "We want to urge the leaders, we want to urge Mombasa residents and religious leaders to be calm and to give the government a chance to do its work.”

The commissioner also called for witnesses to volunteer information that can help the police to nab the assailants.

Hassan Mohamed Idris, the son of the slain cleric, told reporters that his father lived a private life for the past five months.

“As a family we told our old man it was not nice for the Muslims to fight each other because of you," he said. "Thank God he agreed to our request and went to Likoni to stay in his house and his farm. According to our younger brother he [had] seen unknown people with vehicles driving near the farm that we do not know.”

In an interview with VOA in late May, the slain cleric said young radicals were not happy with his stand that fighting in neighboring Somalia was not jihad, or holy way. He also said the youths tormented him and other officials in the streets by calling them names.

Visiting the family of the slain cleric on Tuesday, former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who called himself close friend of Sheikh Idris, said it is not normal for so many murders to go unresolved, with police making no arrests.

“We are asking who is carrying out these killings," he said. "Is it a devil waking up one morning and going to fire bullet at people?”

Troubled region

Kenya's coastal region, a tourist hub where most of the country's Muslims live, has also been hit by a series of bomb attacks on churches over the past months blamed on Islamists linked to the Somali militants.

In Mombasa last April, gunmen shot and killed radical cleric Abubaker Shariff Ahmed, also known as Makaburi, near a mosque. He was accused by the United States and United Nations of recruiting fighters and raising money for al-Shabab.

Sheikh Ibrahim Ismael was killed on a road near Mombasa in October 2013. Sheik Aboud Rogo Mohammed was killed in August 2012.

Human rights activists accused Kenyan security forces of killing the radical clerics — an allegation the government has strongly denied.

Previous shootings of clerics have sparked riots, and Sheikh Idris' brother, Ali Idris, urged people not to take the streets to protest.

"We are calling for calm ... we cannot carry out any revenge," Ali Idris said. "God will pay the killers."

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Fortunatus F Mkesha from: Kigoma,Tanzania
June 16, 2014 2:51 AM
very very,, wonderful and painful to all people from Kenya, Africa and Warld, actually those big national should find altenatives to, know all people that sponsoring that Al-Shabab, its real painful, we need major and strong power to fight against Those killers, thanks.

by: kalimullah from: pakistan gilgit baltistan
June 10, 2014 1:21 PM
poor peopels ecnomic killing in musalim countaries is bad to 911 with all war world war
.we are daily killing in pakistan .rich man is havy if we ask pakistani govt are army these peopels high jack all pakistan man woman grils and childaran

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More